Kurt Lewin 1951: 146 We mean by a group a number of persons who communicate with one another often over a span of time, and who are few enough so that each person is able to communicate with all the others, not at second-hand, through other people, but face-to-face. However, as soon as we talk about expected behaviour there is room for confusion. However, groups can be very large collectivities of people such a crowd or religious congregation or gathering. The significance of collectivities like families, friendship circles, and tribes and clans has been long recognized, but it is really only in the last century or so that groups were studied scientifically and theory developed Mills 1967: 3. Types of groups There are various ways of classifying groups, for example in terms of their purpose or structure, but two sets of categories have retained their usefulness for both practitioners and researchers. Exhibit 1: Some definitions of a group Conceiving of a group as a dynamic whole should include a definition of group that is based on interdependence of the members or better, the subparts of the group. Number 3, Spring 2001 and is available as a Word document:.
This said, it is possible, as Jarlath F. Emergent groups come into being relatively spontaneously where people find themselves together in the same place, or where the same collection of people gradually come to know each other through conversation and interaction over a period of time. This goes beyond some surface similarity such as height or eye colour. The ubiquitousness of groups and the inevitability of being in them makes groups one of the most important factors in our lives. Bales, Robert Freed 1950 Interaction Process Analysis: A method for the study of small groups. A further, critical, set of interventions came from Kurt Lewin 1948; 1951 who looked to the dynamic qualities of groups and established some important parameters with regard to the way they were to be studied.
An obvious but crucial consideration is the size of the group. There is also often a high level of interdependence between members. Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect. Humans are not born with these skills; they must be developed. For these reasons we need to be able to appreciate what is going on in groups — and to act where we can to make them more fulfilling and beneficial to their members and to society as a whole. Baron, Robert S and Norbert L Kerr 2003 Group Process, Group Decision, Group Action.
Group interaction Those involved with researching and working with groups have often come at interaction — the way in which people engage with and influence each other — from contrasting perspectives. Various different ways of conceptualizing role have emerged in the study of groups e. Acknowledgements: Photo by on How to cite this article: Smith, Mark K. Conclusion From this brief overview we can see the significance of groups and why it may be important to intervene in them — both to strengthen their potential as sites of mutual aid and communal well-being, and to help them become more fulfilling to their individual members. Campbell 1958 who first used the term entitativity. Interdependence has, thus, come to play a significant role in the way that many writers define group e. In addition, larger groups can also allow us to feel more anonymous.
Lewin, Kurt 1951 Field theory in social science; selected theoretical papers. But no matter what the nature of the relations, a group exists when some type of bond links the members to one another and to the group itself Forsyth 2017: 4-5. Some social psychologists, for example, looked at the ways in which, for example, working in the presence of others tend to raise performance Allport 1924. They can be highly rewarding to their members and to society as a whole, but there are also significant problems and dangers with them. This distinction has found its way into different aspects of practice — for example when thinking about leadership in groups whether leaders focus on structure and task actions, or on the feelings and needs of the group members see, in particular, Hersey and Blanchard 1977. Soon North American sociologists such as Charles Horton Cooley 1909 began to theorize groups more closely — and this was followed by others looking at particular aspects or types of group. In families, for example, the relationships are based on kinship, but in the workplace, they are based on task-related interdependencies.
In smaller groups a higher proportion of people are likely to participate — there is potential more time for each, and the smaller number of people involved means that speaking may not be as anxiety-making as in a large group. Homans, George 1951 The Human Group, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. In addition, large groups are more likely to include people with a range of skills and this can allow for more specialization of labour. This distinction has turned out to be one of the most enduring features of much that has been written about groupwork. A half dozen crows on a telephone line is a murder.
Trades unions and membership organizations such as the National Trust are examples of these. Numbers: When people talk about groups they often are describing collectivities with two members a dyad or three members a triad. They involve the distinctions between: primary and secondary groups; and planned and emergent groups. For example, a work team or study group will often comprise two or three people. They are often large and usually formally organized. Working More Creatively with Groups. Nor are the relationships linking members equally strong or enduring.
John C Turner 1987: 1-2 A group exists when two or more people define themselves as members of it and when its existence is recognized by at least one other. Zander, Alvin 1985 The Purposes of Groups and Organizations. Perhaps the most obvious is work — and the contexts and practices of teams. Some benefits and dangers of groups As can be seen from what we have already reviewed, groups offer people the opportunity to work together on joint projects and tasks — they allow people to develop more complex and larger-scale activities. They are a fundamental part of human experience and play a crucial role both in terms of shaping and influencing individual lives and society itself. They provide a way forward for interaction.
Planned groups are specifically formed for some purpose — either by their members, or by some external individual, group or organization. Group development Groups change over time. Still the best starting point for an exploration of groupwork practice. Some of these schemes are helpful, some are not — but what cannot be disputed is the significance of role in groups. Group goals are ideals — they are the ends the aims or the outcomes sought by the group and its members.
Doel, Mark 2005 Using Groupwork. Hersey Paul and Blanchard, Kenneth 1977 Management of Organizational Behaviour: Utilizing human resources. Thus, a group is defined as two or more individuals who are connected to one another by social relationships. Most commentators assume that groups go through a number of phases or stages if they exist for an extended period. Cartwright, Dorwin and Alvin Zander eds.